How to write a Definition Essay that Stands Out

author By Mary Boies

Writing essays is an integral part of college life. By the time you graduate, you will have written many essays. Therefore, it is important to master how to write essays to have an easy time in college. Of course, we are talking about getting good grades, maintaining a good GPA, and honing your writing skills.

The process of mastering how to do anything usually involves doing two things. The first thing you need to do is to learn how to do something correctly. And the second thing you need to do is practice doing it many times to become a pro at it.

Therefore, if you want to become a pro at writing essays, you must learn how to write them correctly and practice writing them many times.

In this post, you will discover how to write definition essays correctly. Combining the knowledge you gain in this post with definition essay writing practice will make you a pro at writing destination essays.

You will also become a pro at writing essays in general because the process of writing different types of essays is essentially the same.

What is a definition essay?

A definition essay is an essay that defines. In other words, it is an essay that sets forth the meaning of something to make it easy for readers to understand it fully. It can be on a literal subject or an abstract subject.

The best definition essays are well-researched and well-written to provide a structured and easy-to-understand description of something. They are usually short (between two to four pages long) but can sometimes be lengthy.

Writing a definition essay is relatively easy compared to writing other types of essays. This is because the process is relatively straightforward. It might seem unbelievable to you at this point that it is relatively easy to write a definition essay, but it is. And by the time you are done reading this post, you will most likely agree with us.

Common Approaches Used to Write Definition Essays

You can write a definition essay in several different ways. The most common approach used to write definition essays is the analysis approach. The approach involves defining the subject as a whole and then breaking it down into its components/elements and defining them individually.

The second most common approach to writing definition essays is the classification approach. The classification approach categorizes things in the correct classes based on their features/qualities. Finally, the comparison approach is the third most common approach used to write definition essays. The approach involves comparing two or more things to get a complete understanding.

The origins and causes approach is also fairly common. It involves defining something by fully explaining its background, history, cause, or origin.

While there are different ways to approach writing a definition essay, you won’t even have to think about it most of the time. This is because your professor will always tell you exactly what to do in the definition paper instructions.

It could be something like Define the qualities of a good leader. You don’t have to think about the approach to use. You simply do the research and define as you have been asked to.

If it is not very clear how you are supposed to approach a definition essay assignment, you should ask your friends about it. If they also don’t know how to approach it, you should talk to your professor about it.

Definition Essay Structure

Like all other types of college essays, the definition essay has the standard introduction-body-conclusion structure. Find out what to include in your definition essay in all three sections.

1. Introduction

The first part of the definition essay is the introduction. In the introduction, your goal should be to tell your readers about the paper. And you should do it excitingly enough to make the reader want to read the rest of the essay.

The last sentence or statement in your essay should be your thesis statement. Like all thesis statements, your thesis statement should be on-point, arguable, and directly related to your essay topic/title.

2. Body

The body part of your definition essay should have a minimum of three paragraphs. Each paragraph should focus on one topic sentence (supporting argument for your thesis).   And it should contain evidence for the supporting argument.

Each body paragraph should also include examples where necessary. The last statement in each body paragraph should be a closing statement that links to the paragraph below.

3. Conclusion

The last paragraph in your essay should be the concluding paragraph. It should simply restate the thesis, restate the main supporting arguments, and then end with a closing statement that nicely wraps up everything.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing a Definition Essay

After reading the essay prompt, there are a few steps you must take to ensure that you write an essay that meets the rubric requirements and your expectations and demonstrates that you have mastered the art of academic writing. Here are some steps to take if you want to be successful in your definition essay assignment.

1. Choose a topic

If you have already been given something to define by your professor in the essay instructions, you should skip this step.

If you haven’t been given something to define, you should brainstorm and create a list of things you would like to define or talk about. Make sure the list is not too long.

Upon creating the list, choose an interesting thing or concept to be the topic of your essay. Make sure what you choose to write about is not very obvious or specific. Think like a scholar and choose something interesting to talk about. A subject, topic, concept, or idea that any reader will be genuinely interested to read about (e.g., love, pride, hate, and so on).

2. Find out what you can about the topic

Once you have a topic, you should do online research to find out everything you can about it. The objective of doing this is to enable you to understand the topic and to think about what exactly you want to write about (your thesis).

Once you have familiarized yourself with the topic, write a formal thesis statement and use it to conduct thorough research. Your research should include your finding and note down supporting arguments for your thesis statement.

3. Create a definition essay outline

At this point, you will have a thesis statement, supporting arguments, and evidence noted. The next thing you want to do is to create an essay outline. An essay outline is basically a rough plan of how you will write the essay.

The outline should include at least five paragraphs (intro, three body paragraphs, & conclusion). For each body paragraph, you should outline the topic sentence, the evidence you will use, and the closing/transition sentence.

Make sure your definition essay outline is as comprehensive as it can be. Because a comprehensive outline will make it easy for you to write your definition essay.

4. Write your definition essay

It should be easy for you to start writing your definition essay with a comprehensive definition essay outline in hand. Write the introduction first, the body paragraphs, and the conclusion.

First, ensure that you have an appealing hook to grab your readers' attention. A hook can be a statistical sentence, fact, quote, or statement that makes them want to read the rest of your essay.

When writing the paragraphs, focus on ensuring there is good flow. In other words, you should focus on ensuring the roughly connected sentences or notes in your outline combine nicely in your writing to form one seamless definition.

By the time you are done writing, you should be able to read your essay like a Wikipedia article. It should be well-structured with everything in the right place.

5. Proofread your essay

After writing your essay, the next thing you want to do is to proofread it. You should proofread it thoroughly to ensure it has a good flow and that your essay is really well-connected to your thesis statement.

After proofreading to correct flow, you should proofread your essay again to correct bad grammar, punctuation errors, and other writing errors. Do this twice to ensure you catch and eliminate all mistakes.

6. Submit your essay

After step five above, your essay will be perfect and ready for submission. You should submit it to your professor as soon as you can. Then, if you want, you can send it to a friend to proofread it one more to ensure it is flawless and on point from the first sentence to the last. After your friend is done, you should check your essay once more to ensure they did not change the format or anything like that and submit it.

Definition Essay Outline

In the section above, one of the steps involved creating a definition essay outline. The purpose of doing this is to create a “map” that you can subsequently follow to write your definition essay.

In this section, we will share the standard structure of a definition essay outline. Creating an outline following this structure makes organizing your definition paper research easy. Afterward, you should find it easy to write the essay itself.

Definition essay outline

1. Introduction

  1. Attention-catching statement
  2. Background information
  3. Thesis statement

2. Body Paragraph 1

  1. Topic sentence (First supporting argument)
  2. Link to thesis and evidence
  3. Closing sentence

3. Body Paragraph 2

  1. Topic sentence (Second supporting argument)
  2. Link to thesis and evidence
  3. Closing sentence

4. Body Paragraph 3

  1. Topic sentence (Third supporting argument)
  2. Link to thesis and evidence
  3. Closing sentence

5. Conclusion

  1. Thesis restatement
  2. Summary of key arguments
  3. Final closing sentence

Definition Essay Topics and Ideas

The sample definition essay topics below should provide you with all the inspiration you need to develop your own definition essay.

  1. What is good leadership?
  2. What makes a good person?
  3. What does smart mean to you?
  4. What is solitude?
  5. What is beauty?
  6. What is wisdom?
  7. Definition of love
  8. Definition of hate
  9. Definition of success
  10. Islamophobia in the 2020s
  11. Anti-Semitism in the 2020s
  12. Freedom of choice
  13. What is abortion?
  14. What is materialism?
  15. Pros and cons of capitalism
  16. Pros and cons of socialism
  17. What is the role of religion in modern politics?
  18. What is feminism?
  19. What are the effects of the digital revolution?
  20. Definition of terrorism
  21. What is wealth?
  22. What are the benefits of extracurricular activities?
  23. What is self-esteem?
  24. Patriarchy in the modern-day world
  25. Should smartphones be banned in high schools?
  26. Racism in post-colonial countries
  27. Male chauvinism in the 21ST century
  28. What is water pollution?
  29. Plagiarism and its consequences
  30. What is a just war?
  31. What does excellence mean to you?
  32. The importance of integrity
  33. Why should people be honest?
  34. What being a leader means
  35. Is health wealth?

Tips To Help You Write an Excellent Definition Essay

Follow the tips below to write a brilliant definition essay.

Cite everything properly

The backbone of every excellent essay is solid research. Therefore, you should cite everything properly when adding information, facts, or evidence from external sources. Proper citation means adding in-text citations and a references page to your paper. If you don’t do this, you will lose marks for references and citations. If worse, your paper could be flagged as plagiarized, a cardinal sin in academics.

Proofread and edit

Once you write your paper, you should proofread and edit everything. Make sure your paper has no single typing or grammar error. Also, ensure that everything in your paper reads as quickly as the alphabet. If anything is even a bit difficult to read, rewrite it to ensure it reads smoothly. A well-edited essay is key to an excellent grade in your college essays.

4. Create an outline after the research

Once you have researched the topic you want to write about, you should create an outline for your essay. This is crucial to ensure your essay is well-structured and organized. It is also crucial to make the writing process easy. If you don’t create an outline, you will likely have difficulty writing your essay.

5. Use credible evidence

You should make sure you use credible evidence throughout your essay. Getting information from sources that are not credible will affect your likelihood of getting a good grade. It could also result in you relying on misleading information or non-facts in your essay.

6. Ask for help if you need it

This is perhaps the most crucial piece of advice you need to heed in this article. If you get stuck when writing your definition essay (or any other essay), you should ask for help. There is no prize for struggling on your own with your essay. Therefore, when you are stuck, you should quickly ask for help (from classmates, your professor, or an essay writing service like ours). Asking for help could be the difference between getting an average and an excellent grade.

Final Take!

We hope this article provided you with all the information you were looking for on how to write a definition essay. We did our best to include every piece of information we think is necessary for understanding how to write a definition essay.

You should work with us if you need any definition essay writing help. We’ve got dozens of writers with experience writing all types of essays, including definition essays.

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